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Groom them young!

Puppies are completely dependent on you for their growth, development and character building. Along with giving them a good diet and exercise, basic hygiene and grooming are also very important for his overall development. Here’s how to groom your pup healthy and beautiful.

Grooming isn’t just about making your puppy look good. Regular care removes dead hair, keeps the coat and skin healthy, and gives you the opportunity to keep a check on your pup’s general health.

General hygiene and grooming

Basic hygiene starts from the first day when your little puppy is brought

Sherlock

Sherlock

home. This comprises wiping around

the mouth and chin after meals with a moist towel and drying the area well. Similarly wipe around the belly and lower abdomen 2-3 times a day with a moist towel and dry well. This is to prevent dermatitis caused due to food remaining on the chin or urine around the belly, which leads to pimples, redness and irritation of the skin.

Puppies have very delicate sensitive skin and thus the type of shampoo or brush used is very important and depends on the coat type. Please seek guidance from a professional groomer or your vet regarding the dos and don’ts for your puppy’s specific skin type. For the first couple of months, your grooming schedule should comprise daily brushing of the coat and sponge baths only when required. Regular baths or professional grooming can begin from 2.5-3 months onwards. It is not advisable to bath your dog too often, as they lose the natural oil from their skin and predisposes them to a lot of skin conditions in the future. Thus a maximum of one bath per month is ideal for most breeds, especially with our weather conditions.

Make the first experience a happy one

I associate the puppy’s first grooming experience with that of a child’s first dentist appointment. If it scares them, they will fear and dread it the rest of their lives. However, if introduced at a young age and introduced correctly, it can be both a positive and rewarding experience. Love and patience are the keys to years of successful grooming sessions enjoyed by both you and your little one. The process is quite simple and acts as a bonding experience as it is important time spent together, building your relationship, trust and understanding.

Daily grooming routine

  • Pre-groom session: Encourage your pet to come to you for a quick cuddle and play with him for a few minutes to help him get rid of some of his excess energy.
  • The basics: Choose a raised platform with an anti-slip surface to groom your pup. Show your puppy his brush and comb and let him sniff and get familiar with it. During the grooming, if your pup tries to bite or play with the brush, turn away without letting go off him. Ignore negative behaviour but reward positive behaviour with treats and praises. Your pup should look forward to this time of the day as a good experience.
  • Brushing: Slowly start brushing his body while talking to him in a soothing tone and praising him for his good behaviour. This is when he starts relaxing and begins to enjoy the attention. After a few minutes, slowly proceed to brushing sensitive areas like the belly, ears, tail and legs.
  • Nail care: Touch the feet and examine the nails and toes. It is important your puppy gets used to having nails touched in case future nail clipping is required.
  • Ear care: Play with your puppy’s ears by touching them on the inside and outside. Reward him with lots of praises and a treat for good behaviour. This is very important, as many breeds require the hair to be plucked from the ears for basic hygiene purpose.
  • Dental care: Open your pup’s mouth and rub your finger along his teeth and gums. As they grow older, you could introduce a finger brush or puppy toothbrush and pet friendly toothpaste for their daily dental cleaning. This helps in surface cleaning and could prevent early formation of plaque and help in reducing odour from the mouth.
  • Post-grooming tactics: Always end the grooming session with a cuddle, walk or a game. This familiarity with close contact not only makes handling easy but also helps make veterinary examinations less stressful in the future.

Bathing tips

  • The setting: If a bath is required, when your puppy is small, a plastic tub would suffice but as they grow bigger, switch to a shower or a bath with an anti-slip mat so they don’t panic if they lose their footing.

    Dr. Nezhat

    Dr. Nezhat

  • Warm water: Make the environment warm and use lukewarm water for the bath as puppies tend to get very cold after a bath. Make drying arrangements ready before starting the bath.
  • Bathing: Wet the coat thoroughly and avoid getting water into your puppy’s eyes or ears. Offer praise and reassurance throughout the process and reward positive behaviour. If it’s the first time and your pup is nervous, ask a friend to stroke and reassure the puppy while you wash him up.
  • Shampooing: Use a puppy shampoo specific for your puppy’s coat texture. Initially always use it in dilution and lather well. Leave it on for a few minutes while massaging it well into the coat. Rinse off the shampoo thoroughly, as remains may cause itchiness and scaling later.
  • Drying: Stand back as your puppy gives himself a good shake!! Towel dry well and use a hair drier only during cold weather or if the puppy has a thick coat. When blow-drying your pup’s hair, make sure the dryer is on “Cool” setting as it can burn the skin easily. Also make sure not to use the dryer too close to the skin or directly on the eyes and ears. If your puppy shows fear towards the loud sound of the drier, try to keep him distracted with treats and keep talking to him in a reassuring tone. Run a cotton swab with your finger in his ears to dry any leftover water drops. Make sure the coat and feet are completely dry before letting him go outside.

While it is best to do a basic groom at home everyday, once a month you must take your pet for a professional groom so that your puppy’s coat texture and skin can be analysed by a professional who could guide you on how to proceed further with his skin care and maintain that perfect glossy coat. Remember ‘a clean dog is a happy dog!’

(Dr Nezhat Belgamvala runs PetStepin’ in Bengaluru. Established in 2009, PetStepin’ provides facilities like boarding, day-care, socialising, grooming, pet parties and more. For more details, visit: www.petstepin.com).

grooming

Groom your pup in style

As a new pup owner, it is extremely essential for you to know what is correct for the pup, right from proofing the home, settling him in, to his diet management, vaccination process, training and YES grooming. Here are a few Do’s and Don’ts for pup grooming.

Do’s

  • Introduce your pet to the world of combing and brushing right from the start. Make brushing a daily groomingroutine.
  • Be very patient and gentle with your pet when brushing or combing.
  • Use a hot towel sponge, if his coat gets dirty. Special care should be taken to ensure that the coat is dried immediately.
  • Regular brushing or combing also prevents mats and tangles from developing and keeps the skin and coat healthy.
  • Routine brushing helps in replacing the puppy coat and reducing hair fall substantially, while removing dust particles.
  • Be extremely patient while opening knots on long-coat pups.
  • Regularly check the inside of your pup’s ears and its edges. Clean with cotton if required.
  • Examine your pup’s tail end, under pads and toilet areas constantly and keep them clean.
  • Give your pup regular chews to keep his teeth clean and free of bad breath.
  • Chewing process helps in teething and also does not let any tarter deposit to accumulate on the teeth

Don’ts

  • Do not give your pet a bath till the age of three-four months (consult your vet).
  • Never clip your pup’s nails at home as you can to cut a vein while clipping.
  • Do not press down with force while brushing the pup, especially if you are using steel pin brushes, slicker brushes or steel combs.
  • Do not use slicker brushes for smooth coat or short coat pups.
  • Do not use any brush close to the eyes, nose or toilet areas.
  • Impatience while opening knots will spoil your pups coat and may also pain or hurt him/her.

Keeping your pup regularly groomed, neat & clean can save your pet from a lot of health hazards and uncalled for visits to his vet. Regular grooming will not only help keep your pup’s skin and coat in good condition but will also prevent mats and tangles.

Grooming sessions always help in bonding with these four-legged wonders.

(Preeti & Sanjeev Kumar of Scooby Scrub (Delhi) are professional certified groomers (Thailand) and animal welfare workers).

–by Preeti and Sanjeev Kumar

Groom me gently, I am scared!

If your pooch is scared of the grooming brush or the water-filled tub, it’s advisable to go slow and make him comfortable with the grooming tools. Let’s see how.

  • Make grooming session a routine. A short 5-10 minutes session would be fine.Dog Grooming
  • Equip yourself with grooming tools, lots of treats and of course your love.
  • Don’t touch your pooch with these tools, just keep them close for the first few days. Let him smell them and touch them himself.
  • Keep the session joyous and end on a happy note, with love or treat.
  • Once your pooch becomes accustomed to the sight of the grooming tools, touch him with the back of the brush. Praise him with a treat.
  • Slowly, start brushing him gently.
  • Make it a routine and follow it religiously.
  • If your pooch is deeply matted and he is afraid to be brushed, take him down to a professional groomer and if shaving is a solution, go for it. But remember double coat dogs should not be shaved.
  • Once he is shaved, follow a regular grooming routine to make him used to the session and avoid matting again.
  • You can choose a soft rubber brush for your scared doggy.
  • If your dog is afraid of bathing, take him near the tub and give him treats.
  • You can even feed him the treats in the tub.
  • Keep a non-slip mat at the bottom of the tub.
  • Once he gets used to it, fill in a little water into the tub.
  • Increase the level of water slowly and then you can bathe your doggy beautiful.
– by Varsha Verma